Thursday, June 16, 2011

A New Beginning and A Plethora of Plate Contenders

I'm pleased to announce that earlier this week I started a new career at Woodbine Entertainment Group. After thirteen years working in the legal industry, most recently as a Litigation Support Specialist, I've left the corporate world of Bay Street for the familiar footing of the E.P Taylor turf course having accepted a position as Media Coordinator, Thoroughbred Racing.

The position combines my passion for writing and social media along with some marketing and organizational responsibilities. Further good news, I think, is that this blog now falls under the Woodbine umbrella and I should have more time and access to provide updates, photos and the usual stories you've come to expect at this address over the past three years. I plan to be more active on my Twitter account and hope to grow into the position quickly.

Queen's Plate contender Check Your Soul welcomes me to Woodbine

I probably could not have picked a busier time to join the Woodbine team. The Queen's Plate will be held on Sunday, June 26th and a number of media events dot the calendar leading up to the race including a golf tournament, barbecue and post position draw. There are media kits to be written and assembled which requires interviews with trainers, owners, jockeys and plenty of fact checking. With a deluge of horses potentially in the mix, it's all a bit frantic.

Although I'm busy, I'm not complaining. A recent morning found me on the backstretch visiting with trainers Roger Attfield and John Mattine to talk about their Plate contenders Check Your Soul and Okiyama. The trip between their respective barns takes you across the length of the backstretch and I immediately appreciated the vernacular of the equine world compared to the often rigid language of legal life.

Okiyama could be a lonely pace presence in the Plate

Overheard along the way were the following tidbits:

"Horses don't owe me anything...but I owe horses everything."

That little blurb from someone who left the white-collar world to live life around animals. I hope to meet more of these folks as I grow into the role. There's all types on the backstretch and everyone has a story on how they ended up taking care of horses instead of pushing paper.

Check Your Soul with his groom, the fantastically named - - Keith

Another line I quite enjoyed:

"If you try to push on the gas, they're gonna step on the brake."

That wee blurb came out of a conversation with an assistant trainer talking about how you have to be patient waiting for two-year-olds to be race ready.

I'm looking forward to elaborating on some of the characters at Woodbine in posts to come. I think I'm going to enjoy a job where I can rub the nose of the Plate Trial winner (Check Your Soul) and pay a visit to a multi-millionaire (Rahy's Attorney) in the course of my day.

Woodbine millionaire Rahy's Attorney is a different animal than my old Bay Street barons!

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And now a quick look at the potential contenders that might make the starting (and auxiliary) gate for the 2011 Queen's Plate. Bear in mind, the connections have not confirmed that all of the horses below will enter race - - in fact, I'm wondering if I've missed one! Further, I've listed jockeys where appropriate, but it's all subject to change. I'll continue to update here, and via Twitter, as things become more concrete.

Bowman's Causeway / Chad Brown / Eurico Rosa da Silva
- - Finished second in the Plate Trial off a two-month layoff following a move to the barn of Chad Brown after an up and down campaign with Patrick Biancone at Gulfstream Park.

Check Your Soul / Roger Attfield / Patrick Husbands
- - Plate Trial winner breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on June 15th

Curgone / Gregory de Gannes / ?
- - Finished fourth behind Head Honcho in a recent allowance event. Curgone worked five furlongs on June 14th in a minute flat.

Enduring Star / Mark Casse / ?
- - He hasn't raced since April 23rd when breaking his maiden. He bulleted five furlongs in a minute flat on June 11th.

Head Honcho / Catherine Day Phillips / Jono Jones
- - Rallied wide to win an allowance event on June 1 featuring Ojibway Signal and Curgone. The Strut the Stage fellow is an improving sort

Hippolytus / Mark Casse/ Tyler Pizarro
- - Earned a 74 Beyer with a fourth place finish in the Plate Trial.

Inglorious / Josie Carroll / Luis Contreras
- - The Oaks winner worked a quick five furlongs in 59 flat on June 16th.

Maple Leaf Kitten / Joe Woodard / Billy, Donna and Justin Hays
- - The 'other kitten' broke his maiden at Indiana Downs on June 8th on the turf.

Oh Canada / Bob Tiller / ?
- - The Tiller trainee has put in a pair of five furlong works following his third place finish in the Marine behind Queen'splatekitten.

Ojibway Signal / David Bell / Justin Stein
- - David Bell has been pointing the Niigon gelding to the Plate for some time and the added distance will suit the horse.

Okiyama / John Mattine / ?
- - He went to the lead in a mile and a sixteenth allowance on June 3rd and never looked back. Depending how the field plays out, the versatile Mattine trainee could be lone speed.

One Big Gator / John Ross / ?
- - Broke his maiden on the engine in a June 10th route earning a 73 Beyer.

Pender Harbour / Mike De Paulo / ?
- - The Kingarvie winner got a late start to the 2011 campaign and i his second start of the season was all out along the rail on June 12th finishing fourth behind Moonshine Mullin in the Victoria Park.

Queen'splatekitten / Todd Pletcher / John Velazquez
- - The popular J/T combo could be the Queen's Plate favourites. QPK has put in a pair of four furlong works at Belmont following the Marine win. Velazquez was the pilot for earlier efforts at Gulfstream and Keeneland.

Seawatch / Josie Carroll / ?
- - The Woodman colt broke his maiden in May when ridden out to a four-length victory in an MSW route that garnered a 78 Beyer. He returned a month later on June 12 in the Victoria Park but evened out late when fifth beaten less that three lengths.

Strike Oil / Mark Casse / Willie Martinez
- - The Coronation Futurity winner is a frustrating study. When he puts it all together, he's a very good horse and his Plate Trial was a promising effort for the Windfields bred.

With the departure of Bear's Chill, the potential Queen's Plate field is lacking a serious pace presence and I wonder how that might affect the outcome of a race where the likely race favourites - - Check Your Soul and Queen'splatekitten - - prefer to close from deep. If this paceless scenarios plays out and the filly Inglorious makes the first move from a more central position, she could be very hard to catch in the late going.

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As always, keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page or join in on the conversation by following TripleDeadHeat on Twitter.


Calvin Carter said...


Congratulations on the career switch and new position of Media Coordinator with Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Looking forward to your Queen's Plate coverage.

Valerie Grash said...

Congratulations, Keith!! How exciting!! I'm thrilled for you :-)

Colins Ghost said...

Congrats, Keith! What a great opportunity. Good luck, Kevin

Potch said...

Best success.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Congrats on your promotion.

But please don't hold back on your superiour reporting work here at this blog.

Top notch !

Steve Munday said...

Congrats Keith, best of luck!

EquiSpace said...

Congrats! See you next week!

Fran Jurga said...

Keith, what great news! I am very happy for you and wish you all the best. So thrilled that we won't be losing TDH. I hope we all have the best of all worlds and that you will be very happy at the track! Can you do it all without the help of the postal employees?

Ghostzapper said...

Keith, thats awesome news man! i like the concrete to turf angle ur taking. im excited to see what you and the team have in store! Best of luck!

MikeAdamson said...

Ditto from me.

Linda Shantz said...

Yes, congrats on the new job! What a fun and crazy week to be starting, too!

Rich said...

Way to go Keith, Hope you get to Saratoga this year.